2013 Hyundai Genesis Coupe

August 4, 2013 Updated: August 6, 2013

As a lucky individual who gets to drive pretty much everything with wheels, I was very excited about the opportunity to drive the revised Genesis Coupe.

I was even more excited to hear that I was to be driving the new R-Spec. This is the model with the small (read light) 2.0 turbo-charged engine, upgraded Brembo brakes, a limited slip differential, uprated suspension, and a great looking set of wheels.

But let me back up. The real reason I was interested in this car is that I’d never driven a Hyundai—only watched them improve from a distance. The Koreans seem to be catching if not passing the Japanese in terms of build quality, and have already left them in the weeds in terms of styling.

The Genesis Coupe is a Hyundai sports car with rear wheel drive that, on paper, has all the right boxes ticked.

This is a big car with a big wide hood on it. The fit and finish are excellent. Its super light clutch and six-speed shifter are well matched, something I’ve noticed is not always the case in manual cars these days.

The little 2.0L must have a big ole’ turbo attached to it. There is a fair amount of turbo lag, and the power band seems pretty narrow if you want to make the most of the 274 bhp.

The trick to driving this car fast is keeping those revs up around the 4,000 rpm mark, otherwise the car feels slow and cumbersome. The car is no lightweight at over 3,300 pounds so you’ll need all those ponies to keep it hustling.

If you’ve never driven a good rear wheel drive car (way too many people haven’t) you will find it a revelation. There is no power train attached to the front wheels so they do one thing and one thing only—steer. Unencumbered by torque steer and an excessive amount of required power assistance, you can feel the road and sense the corners in ways you just can’t in front or all-wheel drive cars. 

Get this car spooled up and head into a corner and you’ll find yourself rewarded. You’re driving a proper sports car. Get the revs wrong though and you will be punished by a car that feels too big, too heavy, and leaves you wondering where the power went.

The Genesis Coupe is definitely aimed at the younger crowd; it’s a traffic stopper that turns heads. While its proportions are solid, the styling is busy and a little too fussy for my liking. Lots of honey-combed black plastic unnecessarily adorn the otherwise great shape of the car. It even has fake air intakes on the hood! But that aside it does look the business either parked or out on the road.

It’s a rewarding car to drive on open winding roads, making use of a great chassis and steering. It is a difficult car to drive smoothly in the city. The nature of the small-displacement-high-output engine means power is delivered in a very non-linear manner. For the week I had the car driving it in traffic could only be described as jerky, at best, as the turbo consistently cut in and out. 

Overall this is a great car with stunning looks. It’s properly appointed, with a well-dialed chassis and suspension. It has lots of good feedback through the controls and build quality to hold its own with anything out there.

Automobile obsessed and armed with an encyclopedic knowledge of all makes and models, Andrew Taylor specializes in matching people and businesses up with the right vehicles. He is available to talk cars anytime at ataylor@pfaffleasing.com